Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 5/20/14
Rating: 5 stars
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They called her the Ice Queen.Anne Winters. Self-made billionaire. Household name. Divorced single mom. Convicted felon. She didn’t let anyone or anything get to her. No one was allowed to breach the walls around her heart except for her own son. She had only one trusted friend: her vacation house neighbor. They’d been walking the beach together for twenty years. Not that this gave him access to her heart, of course…They called him a man who got what he wanted. Mack Corey. Self-made billionaire. Dominant world player. Widowed father of the bride. No felony convictions yet, although his daughters had come close. He’d transformed his family company into one of the top 500 by the age of thirty. He’d raised two daughters who dumped him for idiot arrogant French chocolatiers and went off to live in Paris. Hell, he even managed to tolerate his dad. But that Ice Queen act Anne Winters had going was really starting to get to him…They’d been friends for twenty years. Could they become lovers? Could a frozen heart be kissed by the sun?
"Funny thing about ice. When light hits it, God, how it shines."
I'm going to start by getting a little business out of the way. Yes, I loved Sun-Kissed. Yes, I think you should read it. You being, all of you, because this story is gorgeous and brilliant and I loved everything about it. I will also say that Laura Florand is so enormously talented that I'm beginning to run out of new ways to praise her!
I was surprised when Laura Florand shared a bit of Sun-Kissed a few months ago. I loved it, but was still surprised about the story because of the lead characters. Mack Corey is the father of Cade and Jamie of the Amour et Chocolat series. I've always liked Mack, despite him being a bit (or a lot) overbearing. As for Anne Winters, well, based on her description in Snow-Kissed, she didn't seem exactly like the heroine type. Honestly, the fact that the main characters are so different-surprising- is a big part of the beauty in Sun-Kissed. We have these two characters who aren't exactly gentle and easy to like, and they have such a emotionally powerful story to tell. It was a story of a friendship that has weathered his wife's death, the raising of children, a short term in prison for one. It's a slow-building relationship built on trust and mutual appreciation. And really, isn't that sort of trust and affection the most perfect foundation for a life-changing relationship?
When Sun-Kissed begins, it's immediately clear that Mack's feelings for Anne go beyond friendship. She's owned a starring role in his dreams for years. He's in love with her. The question becomes, will he finally act on those feelings, and will Anne reciprocate? The battle of wills was amazing. And funny! The almost angry passion between them was eye-opening. You would think neither Mack nor Anne knows how to give, to be weak and allow needing someone. It does come easier for Mack, he's never hardened his heart to the world as fully as Anne. I was surprised how quickly Anne allowed Mack in, though it was extremely hard for her. But knowing Mack Corey, I should never be surprised.
Snow-Kissed was one of the most beautiful, heart-breaking stories I've ever read. I was sure that Sun-Kissed would never affect me on quite that level. And though it have that same level of... hurt, it did affect me deeply. I'm not even kidding, I was crying by page five. Sun-Kissed is a powerful story. Mack's bittersweet emotions at his daughter's wedding, missing his wife, letting his daughters go, the quiet longing for Anne. Anne's long-held pain in longing for another child, knowing she didn't always love her son in the way he needed, happiness in seeing Kurt happy once again. And, Anne and Mack's devotion to one another, their passion, their recognition that they could be so very happy together.
With the way I've just described this story, you would think it was at least four hundred pages long. Sun-Kissed is a little over two hundred pages of pure perfection. Florand has a gift for taking life's big and small moments, and wrenching every single, teeny-tiny bit of emotion out of them. Sun-Kissed made me cry. Yes, there were very, very sad moments. And bittersweet. And very, very funny moments too! But when I got the tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat, it was mostly because Sun-Kissed was so beautiful, I could hardly stand it.
Fans of both the Amour et Chocolat series and Snow-Kissed will love Sun-Kissed. All leading couples of Amour et Chocolat are present and bring such humor and love to the story. Fans of Snow-Kissed should consider this a must-read, especially considering Kurt and Kai are very much a part of the story.
I will never be able to fully put my affection and appreciation for Laura Florand's work into words. Just, trust me when I say Sun-Kissed is undoubtedly worth your time.
Maybe his life wasn't halfway over but halfway started. And fuck with this platonic shit. Jesus, he was getting tired of looking at her ass and not touching it. The things he'd done to her in his fantasies in the privacy of his shower. She'd probably castrate him if he tried a couple in real life, but as to the rest of them...hell. If there was one thing Mack had figured out before he was even out of his teens: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Wonder washed through her. She couldn't help it--she rubbed her temple against his fingertips.
"You're so pretty," he said incredulously. "Oh, my God, you're pretty, in the moonlight, with your lashes lowering just like that. Shit, Anne." His hand curved under her jaw, big and warm against her fine bones, and kept her face up so he could enjoy it. "It's like I've captured a star-queen."
"You have to learn it new, with each new person, if you want to do it right. You're the first you I've ever kissed." She smiled a little into his chest. "We're like a snowflake." She could whisper that fancy into this moonlit, ocean-washed night. "No two pairs of lips meet the same."
Snow Queen Series
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Amour et Chocolat Series
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About the author
Laura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc.), where sexy French chocolatiers woo the women they love with what they love best--romance you can taste. Her books have been translated into seven languages, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and been recommended by USA Today, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She was born in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman, a story told in her first book Blame It on Paris. Now a lecturer at Duke University, she is very dedicated to her research into French chocolate. For some behind the scenes glimpses of that research, please visit her at www.lauraflorand.com.